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To eliminate the headache from getting your teen properly licensed, here's an easy-to-follow guide outlining Missouri Driver's License Laws.

*updated February 2021*

Applying for a driver’s license is an exciting milestone, but can seem daunting: Missouri has multiple laws that must be followed before teens can legally hit the road.

Missouri is one of many states that has implemented a graduated driver’s licensing (GDL) program, which outlines a process of steps teens need to complete and rules that must be followed receive full driving privileges.  On its face, this program might make getting a license seem intimidating or a hassle, but it is designed to foster safe, responsible decisions

To eliminate the headache of getting your teen properly licensed, here’s an easy-to-follow guide outlining Missouri Driver’s License Laws.

See guidelines on how to obtain a driver’s license in Missouri and frequently asked questions:

Applying for a Missouri Teen Driver’s License (Teens qualify at 15 years of age): 

  • Teens (under the age of 18) must first obtain a Missouri Learner’s Permit (also called an “Instruction Permit”)
  • Teens must then obtain an Intermediate Driver’s License
  • After completion of Steps 1 and 2, your Teen can obtain a Missouri Under-21 Full Driver’s License

When Are Missourians Eligible to Obtain a Missouri Learner’s Permit?

 You must be at least 15 years old to obtain an instruction permit in the state of Missouri.

What Step(s) Need to be Taken to Obtain a Missouri Learner’s Permit?

To obtain your learner’s permit, you must visit a Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP) Examination Station and pass the following:

  • A Vision Test.
  • A Road Signs Exam.
  • A Written Knowledge Test.
  • NOTE: A parent or legal guardian must accompany the teen to the license office to sign a permission statement.

After passing the Missouri permit exams, you will receive a Driver Examination Record (Form DOR-100) indicating that they successfully passed all required tests. With this form, you need to visit a local Missouri license office (DMV) with a parent/or guardian where you will be issued a temporary Teen Permit until the Permanent Teen Permit comes in the mail.

I Just Got My Missouri Learner’s Permit, What Laws Do I Need to Know?

– Under age 16, you may drive only when accompanied in the front seat by a licensed driver who is:

  • a parent;
  • a legal guardian;
  • a grandparent;
  • a qualified driving instructor;
  • a qualified driver at least 25 years of age who has been licensed for a minimum of 3 years and has received written permission from the parent or legal guardian; or
  • a qualified driver designated by the disabled parent or guardian of the permit holder.

– At age 16 or older, you may drive when accompanied in the front seat by a licensed driver who is at least 21 years old and has a valid driver license.

– State law requires seat belts to be worn by the driver and all passengers.

– Your teen’s test paper alone is not legal for driving. Be sure to carry your permit with you.

– Your teen’s instruction permit is valid for 1 year and may be renewed.

I Have a Missouri Learner’s Permit, When Will I Be Eligible for an Intermediate Driver’s License?

  • Missouri Driver’s License Laws allow all teens between the ages of 16 and 18 years old who have had an Instructional Permit for at least 6 months to be eligible for an Intermediate Driver’s License.

What Step(s) Need to be Taken to Obtain an Intermediate Driver’s License?

Step One: You must hold a valid, unexpired instruction permit for at least 182 days (beginning the day after issuance).

Step Two: You may not have any alcohol-related offenses in the last 12 months and no traffic convictions in the last 6 months.

Step Three: A parent, legal guardian or grandparent must accompany you to the license office to verify they have received 40 hours of driving instruction, including a minimum of 10 hours of nighttime driving instruction between sunset and sunrise.

Step Four: You must pass the vision, road sign recognition, and written tests at a Missouri State Highway Patrol driver examination station if previous results are more than one year old

Step Five: You must pass the driving test at a local Missouri Driver License Office or a Missouri State Highway Patrol driver examination station.

NOTE: You will need to provide Proof of Insurance and Missouri Vehicle Registration for the vehicle you’ll be taking their road test in.

I Just Got My Intermediate Driver’s License, What Laws and Rules Do I Need to Know?

  • During the first 6 months, you may not operate a motor vehicle with more than one passenger who is under 19 years old and who is not a member of their immediate family.
  • After the first 6 months, you may not operate a motor vehicle with more than three passengers who are under 19 years old and who are not members of your immediate family.
  • You may not drive alone from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. except to and from a school activity, job, or for an emergency, unless accompanied by a licensed driver 21 years old or older.

I Have an Intermediate Driver’s License, When Will I Be Eligible for a Missouri Under-21 Full Driver’s License

  • Under state law, all teens age 18 years old are eligible for a Missouri Under-21 Full Driver’s License.

What Step(s) Need to be Taken to Obtain a Missouri Under-21 Full Driver’s License?

Step One: You must satisfy the requirements for an Intermediate License, including having no alcohol-related offenses or traffic convictions in the last 12 months.

Step Two: You must have a valid intermediate license. Their driving privilege cannot be suspended, revoked, or denied when you apply for a full license.

Gonzalo Fernandez is a personal injury attorney based in St. Louis. He regularly uses his legal expertise to offer insight on events impacting Missourians. Recent media appearances include the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, CBS St. Louis, Fox 2, and KPLR 11. To speak to Gonzalo, call (314) 433-9131 or email gonz@stltriallawyers.com.